Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wet Palette

If you can't tell from the Blog Archive - I've been away from the miniature painting endeavor for quite awhile - I started in 1999 when I ran across a Games Workshop store at the outlet mall and 2004 was the last big year - just before Matthew was born along with some life changing career events.

During that time away, something called a wet palette was introduced to the painting community. I had no idea about it until I made a recent visit to a meeting with the DCAreaMiniPaintingClub - a group that I was a charter member of back in the summer of 2001. It was great to see long time ago friends as well as new faces - in addition, one of the things everyone was painting with was a wet palette.

A wet palette has to be the simplest brainy idea ever for miniature painting. The idea is this - add moisture to the paint at the same rate as evaporation through a process called osmosis. The theory is easy to put into practice - water, a sponge or paper towel, and parchment paper. The water travels up the sponge/paper towel and then slowly into the parchment paper which acts like a membrane between the paint and the water. The parchment paper draws water into the paint at about the same rate as the process of evaporation.

So here's my wet palette...

I simply took my plastic paint tray and folded up a paper towel into a square until it fit into the center of the plastic paint tray. Next I poured water over the paper towel until fully saturated. Finally I cut out a square piece of parchment paper and laid that over the top. Somewhere I read its best to get the parchment paper wet - so I rubbed some water into the parchment paper on both sides prior to throwing it on top of the wet paper towel.

To try it out I threw a little bit of Reaper's Cloudy Sea paint on the paper - I did two sections - one drop that I didn't use and one drop that I threw some Chaos Black into. Added a drop of water to each and prepped them as I would have so they flow. Then I grabbed a model of a dark elf from Reaper and painted away using the mixed paint.

It was awesome! The paint stayed fluid the entire time - I was able to use far less paint, had far more control, and it didn't "chalk" up on my model (ie - stayed smooth) or cause the tip of the brush to dry out. I worked with fluid paint during the entire paint session of basecoating the mix onto the mini. When I finished, I checked the drop which I hadn't used - it was like I first laid it onto the palette - totally fluid and usable paint.

For giggles, I took the parchment paper off the soaked paper towel - lasted about five minutes before completely drying.

We'll see how my next few miniatures turn out - but I'm predicting that this is a game changer that will allow me to kick my painting up a notch.

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